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Confessed Assassin’s New Lawyer Considers Manslaughter Defense

January 29, 1996
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A second attorney, appointed to defend Yigal Amir on charges of assassinating Yitzhak Rabin, indicated this week that he is considering a manslaughter defense for his client.

Avraham Pachter, a former deputy district attorney in Tel Aviv, was appointed Monday by the court to represent Amir after one of Amir’s lawyers, Mordechai Ofri, announced a day earlier that he would resign from the case.

Pachter told Israel Radio that Amir’s statements in court and to investigators would indicate a manslaughter plea, not murder.

Amir previously said in court that he had intended only to paralyze Rabin in order to force him out of the political arena.

“There was no intent to kill,” Pachter said.

Amir, who admitted in court that he had shot Rabin after a Nov. 4 peace rally in Tel Aviv, has not entered a formal plea, even though the court has considered his remarks to be a plea of not guilty.

The 25-year-old religious Jew also has said in court he believed that Rabin’s peace policy put Israelis in greater danger of Palestinian attacks.

After the accused’s other lawyer, American immigrant Jonathan Goldberg, displayed difficulty with his knowledge of the Hebrew language, the court ordered that a second lawyer be appointed for Amir after Ofri withdrew. Ofri said his resignation was a result of his and Goldberg’s differences over defense strategies.

Amir conducted most of the defense questioning Sunday and Monday, while Goldberg watched.

On Monday in the Tel Aviv courtroom, the day’s deliberations included a re- enactment by Amir of the Rabin assassination.

Amir, who was wearing a sweat shirt, showed how he had pointed his gun at Rabin, fired the pistol and then was overpowered by a police officer, who wrestled him to the ground.

He smiled during the re-enactment.

Appearing for the prosecution Monday and Yoram Rubin, one of Rabin’s security guards, who was wounded in the arm in the shooting.

Rubin explained how after he heard the first shot, he hugged Rabin protectively, as both fell to the ground.

Referring to the reports that Amir had shouted that the bullets were dummies as he fired the three shots, Rubin said he heard someone shout, “Dummies.”

Rubin said that as soon as he realized that he was wounded in the arm, he knew the bullets were not dummies.

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